KINGSPORT — The Kingsport Area Metropolitan Transportation Planning Organization approved a traffic study last week for the Mount Carmel area, specifically five streets connecting to or near Main Street and Highway 11-W.
Kingsport Transportation Manager Bill Albright said the town of Mount Carmel requested the traffic study from the Tennessee Department of Transportation, which in turn suggested the Kingsport MPO be the resource to get the study done.
On Wednesday, MPO officials met and authorized a consulting company to perform the study up to a cost of $15,000. The agreement is expected to go before the Kingsport Board of Mayor and Aldermen for approval in September.
“The town of Mount Carmel has wanted something done on these intersections, and the proper procedure is to do a study first,” Albright said.
The consulting company will be charged with evaluating the traffic conditions and problems along Main Street and 11-W and the following roads — Independence Avenue, Hammond Avenue, Bellmont Avenue, Kaywood Avenue and Englewood Avenue.
“They’ll be looking at the problems that (Mount Carmel) is having in terms of ingress and egress, left-turn problems, and accident issues as well. There have been quite a few accidents at some of those intersections,” Albright said. “There is a very short distance between Main and 11-W, which causes some problems with traffic potentially backing into Main, into 11-W and making left turns. In some cases Main is very close to 11-W.”
Albright said the study would likely begin in October and take around three months to complete. The study would include a set of recommendations and various types of improvements, which could include everything from additional lanes, improved signalization or realigning the intersections.
TDOT would be conferred with in the study to determine what the department can and should do to help improve the roads.
“Main is not a state route. If (work is needed) on 11-W or the right of way, TDOT could help. If the improvements to 11-W impact the intersection of Main, they might be willing to spend a little extra money to fix the intersection,” Albright said. “If not, Mount Carmel would pay or the MPO might be able to help fund some of those improvements.”
The Kingsport MPO is a federally mandated organization charged with the planning and programming of federal and regionally significant transportation activities within the greater Kingsport area.
The planning area of the Kingsport MPO comprises 208 square miles incorporating the cities of Kingsport, Church Hill and Mount Carmel and portions of Sullivan and Hawkins counties in Tennessee as well as portions of Gate City, Weber City and Scott County in Virginia.